Circular Letter National Aniline & Chemical Company. September 1, 1914

The Aniline Color, Dyestuff and Chemical Conditions
August 1st, 1914,
April 1st, 1917.
A series of Addresses and Articles
Compiled by:
I. F. Stone
National Aniline & Chemical Co.
Works Schoellkopf , Hartford & Hanna Co.
(American Aniline Colors)
New York, September 1, 1914.


Owing to the war conditions now prevailing in Europe and the impossibility for the present at least of bringing over any colors from Germany, the question of a supply for consumers is a very serious matter, and it is a grave question as to whether or not conditions will change in a short enough time to allow colors to be brought over in time for the wants of consumers after the two or three months' supply which is now in this country has been exhausted.

As representative American manufacturers we have been approached by numerous consumers with the inquiry as to whether or not we will be able to supply them with colors if they are unable to obtain supplies from European firms in the near future, also if we will be able and willing to extend our works so as to produce enough colors to supply American consumers in case the war is protracted and it is impossible for them to secure colors from European firms for an indefinite period.

We will take this means of publicly answering these inquiries by saying that we will be in a position to supply a general line of aniline dyes comprising acid colors for wool and silk, direct dyeing colors for cotton, basic colors for paper, leather, etc., and Nigrosines, to the limit of our capacity, irrespective of European conditions, that is to say, instead of being dependent upon Europe for raw materials as has been generally supposed, we are preparing to manufacture these raw materials ourselves, so insuring a regular supply of the finished colors with which to supply our customers. On alizarine colors, as agents of the British Alizarine Company of London, we will be able to supply certain amounts of these products depending on how much the British Alizarine Company are able to give us, shipping conditions, etc.; definite information regarding which we have not received from the British Alizarine Company at this writing.

The manufacture of the raw materials to produce the colors above mentioned will, however, necessitate a considerable advance in the price of some colors, owing to the increased cost of manufacturing them in this country as compared with Europe, as they cannot be manufactured in this country under normal conditions as cheaply as they can in Europe. The United States can produce an ample supply of the raw materials such as benzole, toluol, naphthaline, etc., which are the basic products from which these intermediate products are manufactured, so that we can be absolutely independent of Europe if the increased cost of manufacturing the intermediate products can be overcome through the assistance of the United States Government in giving us a proper protection in tariff to equalize the increased cost of manufacturing between the United States and Europe; therefore the question of increasing the capacity of our works and the possible establishment of other plants for the manufacture of aniline dyes is solely dependent on this condition. Some thirty years ago there were started in the United States some ten plants for the manufacture of aniline dyes, and had they had proper support in the way of tariff protection from the United States Government, the business would have developed so that American manufacturers would have been able to supply the whole demands of the United States, and consumers would not have found themselves in their present unpleasant situation of being unable to secure colors for their needs, and the number of aniline color manufacturers would not have been reduced to but four as at present, and these four limited to the manufacture of only a few colors, which on account of certain favorable conditions they are able to manufacture successfully in this country in competition with Europe. Consumers themselves are, however, largely to blame for this situation in that they have as a rule supported foreign manufacturers in their fights to keep down the rate of duty on colors whenever the tariff question has been before the people, their reason being their belief that with low duties they could secure a cheaper and more abundant supply of colors from Europe than if a higher duty were named and the business left in the hands of American manufacturers to develop.

The error of this reasoning is now apparent, and not only that, it is our opinion that even with a higher tariff and the consequent larger production of these products by American manufacturers, the average cost to consumers would not be materially increased, for the reason that while it is true that certain colors are sold very cheaply in this country due to European competition, other colors are sold at very high prices by European manufacturers where there is no American competition, so that the average price is much higher than it appears to be from superficial observation.

We think this will dispose of the much asked question as to whether or not aniline colors can be produced successfully in the United States, in that it can now be answered in the affirmative providing we have the proper support of the American consumers and of the United States Government, and with the assurance of such support, those who are associated in the production of raw materials, intermediate materials, and the finished products, are prepared to produce the necessary amount of money to establish the industry on a large scale, and the probability of this assurance is now being investigated.

With regard to the question of whether there is experience and chemical knowledge enough in this country to produce aniline dyes successfully, we will say for ourselves, that in spite of the difficulty in producing colors in competition with Europe, it is a fact that our factory in Buffalo, established in 1880, has developed steadily until its production has reached large proportions, and necessitated the investment of upward of one and one-half million dollars, this development, however, being due to our success in making a few colors which fortunately could be produced by us in competition with Europe, and there is no reason why we could not have the same success in producing a full line of colors with the proper support on the part of the American consumers and the United States Government, as already mentioned.

In conclusion, we wish to ask the indulgence of our friends and customers for our failure to supply them with a sufficient supply of colors to meet their needs, and attend to their correspondence and laboratory work as promptly as usual, the delay being caused by the overwhelming demand upon us for colors, due to the fact that customers who had not been buying from us turned to us at once when they could not get colors from their regular source of supply, and it was therefore impossible for us to attend to this largely increased demand with our present equipment. We are, however, doing our very best to supply the American consumers at reasonable prices based on the increased cost of raw materials, and, as we have already said, will continue to produce colors irrespective of European conditions, to the extent of our capacity.

Yours very respectfully,
I. F. Stone, President.

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